Kudditji was born circa 1928 in the Utopia region; a series of Aboriginal-owned outstations 240 kilometres northeast of Alice Springs, and sadly passed away in 2017. He was an elder of the Eastern Anmatyerre language group and as a young man worked as a stockman herding cattle by foot across his country.
Kudditji was a traditional custodian of his country and of the Emu story, for which he was responsible for initiating the younger men of his clan. Although not much detail is given about aspects of this initiation, it is generally understood that this involved the practical teaching of hunting the Emu as well as the spiritual story of the Emu ancestors. It was Kudditji's obligation to continue this story and his intimate physical and spiritual knowledge of the Anmatyerre country is what he transferred onto his canvas.
It is commonly believed that Kudditji began painting in the early 1980s and like his sister, the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye, is a unique and internationally renown colourist.
Kudditji mixed his colours directly onto the canvas, layering his paint into a patchwork formation. Often his works would change throughout the day as different light sources draw out different colours and elements, whilst others recede.
It is in this depth that his story of country and the story of the Emu resides, the complexity and vastness of his landscape only accessible in patches as they come to light.
Kudditji’s work has found great acclaim and is featured in many important collections in both Australia and overseas.
About the artwork
In this artwork, Kudditji paints his country in vibrant yellows and orange ochre colours. Using his traditional blending technique, the layering of colour creates the illusion of looking down onto a hot desert landscape in the middle of the dry season.